# Grading Plans for online courses

This headless professor video is about grading plans for my online classes. Each student has the

option of two different plans. One is a very simple

plan I call the twentieth century plan because it’s very similar to the kind of

grading plan that I had to cope with when I was an

undergraduate many decades ago. It’s simple because

there are no calculations. We simply look at two letter grades: the project and the final

exam, and take the LOWER one. In other words we don’t count any points from online posting. We don’t count any midterm exams, preliminary exams, or quizzes. We just look at the big components: your term project and the final examination. and then we don’t take an average whether it be a median, mean, or a mode. No, we just look at two grades: a final and a project and take the LOWER of the two. Let’s suppose that you’re not

very good at taking tests and so you get a grade of C on your

final exam. Say you worked very

hard on it and you get an A for the project. But remember this is not an average. We don’t look at the average between the two components. We look at the LOWER of the two. So because you got a C on the final

exam you end up with this C for the course. Now, there’s a better plan, a 21st century plan which I call the

multiple options grading system and the way this works we have many different ways for you to earn points in this class and what we’re

going to do is we’re going to count your ten best of these hundred-point potential components so that you would

have about a thousand points possible, and

then you would need 900 for an A, 800 for a B,

700 for a C, and just to barely pass the class with six hundred points to get a get a D. So, let’s take a look and see what you might be doing in this kind of a

situation. We begin the class with the preliminary

exam. Suppose you got an 85 on that. Each unit you get a quiz Suppose your ten best quizzes added up

to 82 points. Now, for most students the most important thing in the class is your daily posting. Now suppose you only made 43 posts. Your best 10 were all 9’s, that

would give you 90 points, your next best ten we’re all

nines, That would give you 90 points. Your next

best 10 weren’t quite as good, only, 72, and your last ten in terms of the points earned we’re not very good at all, only 55

points. Your corrections of other students’ posts, your 10 best gave you 90 points. You did an essay, but didn’t do so well. only got a 78. You did a project and did fairly well on that: you got an 83. You corrected other people’s projects on

Google Documents and you got a 90 on that and you took the final exam and you got a 76 which

happens to be the median for the entire class. So out of all these, which components should week count? We want to count the things on which you

did the best and ignore those on which you did poorly So when we see a 90, like your

corrections about other students projects, we’re going to count those. Let’s see what

else did you do particularly well on. You did well on the corrections about what other students posted, that’s another 90. Those posts where you yourself did

poorly … hey we don’t have to count those but the posts on which you did well we’re going to count them. Your score on that preliminary exam will

count. We know we shall have to count some other things, including the final exam, on which you did poorly on, and remember you got an 83 on the project but the project can count five times for up to half of your semester grade. We average those 10 components. We get a total 860 points and thatis a B for the class But let’s change some of the assumptions here: let’s suppose that you didn’t do a project, you didn’t do

corrections and you only did 28 posts. Well, when we look at the posts you’re only going to get about 20 percent of your grade, and let’s suppose that

the best posts were again ten that were ninety and suppose that your next best posts were not quite so good and on your next best posts you only got

a 72. So, those were the only posts that we would count. Now we would still count

your preliminary exam, and we would count the essay and we would count your 10 best quizzes and now your final exam would count and we have to count it for half of your grade. If you don’t want something else to count another

final exam has to come in we total up these ten components and get to 787 getting you a C for the class So this is the way that the multiple

options grading system works. It’s really good and the way to remember how it

works is this little song: “The more you do the better you do, the better grade you get.” Now at any time during the semester you

can switch from multiple options to the simple grading plan. On the other hand. once you’ve selected

the simple grading plan you can’t go back and do multiple

options. and, if you’re not going to do a project

you can’t do the simple grading plan, my advice to all the online students is do the daily posts as the best key to getting a good grade in this

class

sounds like there will be a lot of work involved in the 21st century option. Yet it seems like the better option.